Dept of Psychosocial Studies | Current students
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Information for current students

Dear students, welcome to this information page. Below you will find electronic copies of your handbooks and links to all the information you will need for your studies. Please familiarize yourselves with the information on this page. My Birkbeck helpdesk is your main port of call for general issues regarding your status as a student. Issues related to your course can be directed to the course administrators. Many courses have additional information on the virtual learning environment (Moodle) so please click through the link below.

  • My Birkbeck Profile (for student contact information, exam timetables, personalised class timetables, etc.)
  • Moodle (for class notes, etc.)

General resources

Your contact details

Birkbeck Library access

University of London Library (Senate House Library)

  • The University of London Library is on the fourth floor of Senate House, next door to Birkbeck.
  • Please follow signpostings within the building as it is a bit difficult to find the entrance to the library.
  • Birkbeck students are entitled to join Senate House Library. This is one of the best university libraries in the UK. For more information, visit:
  • You can consult their online catalogue at

Enrolment and paying your fees

Financial support

Student support

Exam entry and the examination period

SSHP Ethics committee and its procedures

Information for current CertHE students


Other information

Information for current Foundation Degree students


Other resources

Information for current Undergraduate  students


Other resources

Information for current Graduate Certificate students


Other resources

Information for current Master's students


Other resources

Information for current MPhil/PhD and Doctorate students


Other resources

Upgrade panel (MPhil/PhD)

Your application

  • Every year, the Department will hold an upgrade panel in June at which students' applications for upgrade will be assessed, and applications will either be approved, given conditional approval (subject to some further specified work being undertaken), or not approved.
  • You will normally be expected to submit an application to upgrade from MPhil to PhD at the end of your first year of registration (for full-time students) or second year of registration (for part-time students). An additional upgrade panel will also be held in January (from Jan 2011) for students for whom a June panel is too early (because of break in studies or late registration)
  • Your written application will consist of:
    • An 8000-10,000-word sample chapter for your thesis (which might be an element of your theoretical argument for theoretical theses, or an element of your literature review for empirical theses).
    • A summary statement setting out the background, rationale, focus and questions, methodology (for empirical theses), structure and timetable for your research project (up to 3000 words).
    • A copy of ethical approval from the Department's Ethics Committee (see the procedures outlined under General resources on this page) for conducting your field-work (empirical theses only).
  • Students doing empirical research should have their ethics forms approved before their upgrade and submit together with other required pieces of writing, the confirmation of ethics being approved by the School's ethics committee.
  • Possible outcomes of the upgrade are: Pass, Resubmit and Conditional Pass (these are cases where the committee needs to see further writing, however the student will not need to resit an examination).

Submission deadlines

  • You will be required to submit three hard copies of each of these documents to the Department Office not later than three weeks before the date of the upgrade panel. We hope to confirm the date of the panel very shortly but anticipate that this will be in mid to late June, and so the deadline for submission of written documents will be towards the end of May. Exact dates will be confirmed with you very shortly.

How upgrade applications are assessed

  • Your written submission will be read by two internal reviewers from the Department who are not involved in the supervision of your project.
  • At the upgrade panel meeting, you will be asked to make a short 10-15 minute presentation setting out the background, aims and structure of your research, and the two internal reviewers will then ask you further questions about your presentation and written submission. Following this session, the reviewers will make a decision about your upgrade which will be passed on to you and your supervisors shortly after the panel is held.

Preparing for the next upgrade panel

  • For those preparing for upgrade submission, we recommend that you start discussing with your supervisors early this term about what you should write for your sample chapter. As the term progresses you should also be thinking about how to present your summary overview of your project and where necessary apply for ethics permission from the Department Ethics committee by 15th March.